Well, I had my first tears of frustration yesterday. I could deal with being lost and not being able to mime "voltage converter", but not being able to get in my door did me in. I have struggled with this door ever since I arrived, but always manage to get it open eventually. Not this time. The keys work just fine, the deadbolts click just like they're supposed to, but then the stupid door just won't open.

I must have locked and unlocked it for 10 minutes, getting hotter, and stickier, and sweatier with every passing second. Then I started banging on the door (fruitless and unsatisfying) and pulling on the door knocker (which broke off, but I fixed it), and finally I had to go downstairs and next door to the Emlak. I think "Emlak" means rental agent, but they also do building stuff so maybe it means super, too. He's the guy you go to when there's a problem.

I went in and one of the guys who helped me with my luggage when I arrived, the older one, came into the front room and I started my mime performance. He stopped me and pointed to a door, the bathroom I think. Then he came over to me and started speaking Turkish and put his hand on his heart and kissed my hand and told me I am very pretty, two Turkish words I know, and something about "alme" which I just looked up and according to my dictionary it means "Egyptian dancing girl". I don't really know how to take that, but he seemed to mean it in a good way. He motioned me to sit, and calm down, and we had a short conversation of a sort.

Then the other guy came out of the bathroom, and I started miming away, but he stopped me and shook my hand, and said hello. I guess I was a little frantic and forgot my manners. Then we went upstairs and he noticed there is no doorknob on the outside of the door, and frowned and it took him about half a second to open the door with the key. We both laughed, and now I understand how to get in, you're supposed to turn the non-existent knob, but you can make the key do that job.

Later, after working away for hours, I felt confident enough that I could regain access to my apartment to go out for dinner. I wound through vaguely familiar streets, venturing off just a bit at the end to explore a new side street where I found a nice, friendly cafe called "Pan". It was busy enough, but not too busy. They gave me a Turkish menu and I recognized enough that I could order, but when the waiter came and started gushing Turkish I had no idea what he was saying so I had to admit I didn't speak Turkish and he went and found someone who spoke English. Having ordered successfully I was reading my book and enjoying my dinner (kofte, salad, potatoes, rice) when a convertible pulled up, the woman who translated my dinner walked over, they handed out a monkey on a leash, and drove away. No, this is not normal in Turkey, this would be my first monkey. It was teeny, wearing diapers that had to be for premies, and a teeny tiny red t-shirt. It hung out on her shoulder and head fascinating customers and passers-by.

After asking for the check and getting tea (he didn't understand that international check-mark gesture and so I had to say "check" and he thought I said "cay"), I paid up and started home with only a few wrong turns. I was feeling good until I came to the door. Again: turning, and clicking, and sweating, and swearing. I went downstairs to the Emlak's office where three young boys were hanging out at the desk. I mimed, they took my key. I took it back, we all said things. Finally one of them picked up the phone and a few minutes later the Emlak appeared. I shook my head and showed him my key. He went upstairs, turned it once, and the door opened. I closed the door and showed him it wouldn't open for me whereupon he made me pull the door knocker toward me, the latch unlatched, I tesekkur ederimed him profusely, he gave me his card, told me to call anytime, kissed me on both checks and off he went.

I really have to get these guys some baklava...


New Yorkaise - Parisienne said...

I'm reading this like I'm watching a movie. I can see this all so vividly! :) Baklava indeed!

Kelly said...

Mmmm.... baklava. And now I have rediscovered the location of the good baklava place. So I have the perfect excuse to go get some, and I guess I might as well pick some up for myself as well!